How to Support the People of Syria and Turkey

In the early hours of the 6th of February, Turkey and Syria were struck by a strong 7.8 earthquake. Due to this and hundreds of after shocks, buildings have collapsed and villages have crumbled. Since then, crews on the grounds have been attempting to pull survivors from the rubble in below zero temperatures.

Sadly, over 20,000 people have lost their lives in both Syria and Turkey. Young children have been orphaned and parents have lost their precious children. Over 300,000 people have been deemed homeless, many sleeping in their cars or nearby makeshift shelters hoping to hear word on a missing loved one.

In Eastern Syria where humanitarian aid was already needed before the earthquake, it’s even more dire now than ever due to the on going civil war.

There is a dire need for financial donations, winter clothing, bedding, shelters, food assistance, and volunteers to help with an already strained situation in both countries.

There are many groups on the grounds now helping find survivors and providing urgent care. Our help towards those causes, as listed below, goes a long long way!

The White Helmets dubbed “Syria’s Heros” are the main rescue workers on the ground since the civil war. They’ve been pulling survivors, including their own members, from the rubble since Monday. Our help to them goes a long way! Donations made in USD via credit card vs other methods can be tax deductible.

The Red Crescent of Turkey, an affiliate of the American Red Cross, has been known to provide relief efforts around the world. It’s now our turn to help them at home, which they’ve tweeted here.

Islamic Relief are currently on the grounds helping provide aid and relief support to those in both Syria and Turkey. Their hardworking teams’ amazing efforts do not go unnoticed as reported by BuzzFeed.

There is a Launch Good campaign by Professor Khaled Beydoun to support Droplets of Mercy‘s efforts in Syria and Turkey. They are delivering emergency kits to those in need, including food packs, blankets, coats, and hygiene kits.

International Medical Corps has to date delivered 15 metric tons of medications and medical supplies to Syria’s ministry of health warehouses in Aleppo, Hama, and Lattakia. Their emergency response teams in Turkey are partnering with local teams to assess the needed supplies and support. Donate to support their efforts to provide life saving care to the region.

As always, our friends at World Central Kitchen has already made it to Turkey, providing meals to survivors and first responders. Also standing ready to support the affected areas is World Food Program of the UN. They are reaching tens of thousands of people and with our help, can reach many more with urgently needed food assistance.

For those of you in Qatar, you can donate directly to Qatar Charity and Qatar Red Crescent‘s relief efforts in Syria and Turkey. Per ILoveQatar.net, it’s been reported that Qatar Airways has flown necessary materials as well as the Qatari National Search and Rescue Team, aka Lakhweya, to the region.

For those of us in the Bay Area, the Turkish Student Association of UC Berkeley has been working with Turkish Airlines to deliver much needed materials such as blankets and winter clothing to those in need. Follow them on Instagram for donation updates or Venmo funds towards these materials.

Adding to the page that the American Humane just authorized an emergency grant yesterday to International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to save and support the animals in need. As an animal lover and cat mom, this made my heart smile. Kudos!

Adding to the page that Humanity First is also on the grounds proving medical and food assistance. You can follow Qasim Rashid on Twitter who will be on the grounds in Turkey volunteering with the organization.

I will be updating this page with more verified resources as they become available. So if you know of any other organizations providing relief support and assistance that can use our donations, please share them in the comments or tag me (@mshalaco) on any social media platforms.

May God have mercy on the beautiful people of Syria and Turkey, amen.

Cancelled – Let’s Brunch with Ms. Hala & Friends

Tickets On Sale Now!

Our family has sadly experienced a tragedy with the death of our uncle last night. As such, we have decided with our partners to cancel the brunch event tomorrow until further notice.

All tickets will be refunded in full via the ticketing site.

We appreciate the support and partnership of My Good Pie and our fellow sponsors. Our family appreciates your kind thoughts and understanding during this difficult time.

Join us for an engaging conversation over brunch!

We will come together Saturday, September 24th at 11am to converse over a special set brunch menu at My Good Pie.

Located at 300 De Haro Street in San Francisco, My Good Pie is a women-owned eatery with plenty of parking and near multiple public transportation lines.

Early bird tickets are on sale now for only $35 Tickets are on sale now at $40. Get them before prices go up on September 20th. Spaces are limited and sold on a first come first serve basis.

Click here to buy tickets! If you prefer Venmo or Zelle, please email hala@mshala.co.

Event sponsorship and on-site vendor opportunities are now available. Please email hala@mshala.co for more details.

T&Cs: Ticket prices before September 20th are set at $35/each. On and after September 20th, ticket prices will be $40/each. Ticket includes entrance, meal, and drink(s). All else will be sold separately by either My Good Pie or participating vendors. Tickets are limited to the number of seats available, sold on a first come first serve basis. All sales are final. All sales are final

This is a business venture by Ms. Hala under Hatshepsut Enterprise, LLC.

SF Sundays – Summer Time!

It’s been a while since it’s been safe to head out and about around the Bay again. Plus, I moved across the Bay Bridge, which has me going between my hometown of San Francisco and my new home in Contra Costa County. With that, expect a lot of East Bay shenanigans. Who’s ready?

TOWN HAPPENINGS

The Guo Pei Couture Fantasy exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is the exhibit not to be missed this summer! Guo Pei is China‚Äôs most renowned couturier. Her creations for the last 20 years have been donned by the everyday successful businesswoman, brides looking for a one of a kind wedding gown, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and celebrities such as Rihanna in the iconic yellow gown at the 2015 Met Gala.

Every piece has a unique story, took thousands of hours to create, and will simply put you in awe of her genius. She takes materials such as silk threads, copper ornaments, resin sequins, and Swarovski crystals, just to humbly name a few, to come up with these masterpieces!

Her main collections are beautifully set up throughout the museum but start downstairs through the many rooms showcasing her collections and work your way upstairs to see her iconic pieces among the museum’s permanent exhibits. Visiting this exhibit once just doesn’t do it justice!

So if you’re a Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) member or a Bay Area resident, your exhibit admission can be free. You just have to book your timed tickets online like everyone else. Trust me though, this exhibit is worth every penny to check out before it’s gone in September.

Here are a few other happenings in the Bay for you to check out this summer:

LET’S EAT

Can’t remember the last time I was at the Hard Knox Cafe on Clement Street in San Francisco but I walked in with friends and a massive craving for waffles.

Let me tell you, this place does not disappoint. The staff was gracious, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was warm. The waffle was spot on, fluffy, crispy, and tasted homemade. We of course ordered the spicy fried chicken and lots of fries to go with it. My taste buds thanked me, everything was so divine!

Across the bridge at my office in Dublin, I was super stoked to find Ike’s Sandwiches just a few minutes away. I’ve gone back to see where else I can escape from the office too and came across Sri-Thai Restaurant. Not seeing it on the menu, I asked about one of my favorite dish, pumpkin curry. Yes, they serve it all year long! I no longer have to wait until fall to indulge my cravings for it. Their pumpkin curry may not be the best I’ve had but it still hit the spot. I’ve also tried their take on the classic yellow curry which was pretty good. Their service is friendly and they have both indoor and outdoor seating. Yay!

What are your summer plans? Do share below!

Disclaimer: This rant was not sponsored or paid for by any of the above-mentioned entities unless otherwise noted. Any and all sponsored rants are always based on actual experiences and/or interests. If you’d like me to check out a local event or eatery to rant about, please email ha@mshala.co.

Recipe: Sauteed Chicken and Mushrooms with Quinoa

If you know me, you know that “Hala” and “diet” don’t go in the same sentence. So I wouldn’t say I’m on a diet, but I’m pushing myself to eat better for my health. And better doesn’t mean boring or flavorless, not in the slightest!

I’ve been playing around with some of my favorite go to recipes and ingredients to come up with this delicious yet healthy dish. Sauteed chicken and garlic mushrooms, atop tri-colored quinoa with a side of salad mixed with home made goat cheese dressing. It barely took 30 minutes to prepare and cook, so it’s excellent as a weekly meal prep option.

Sauteed Chicken and Mushrooms
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless, optional to cut into halves or cubes
6 cremini mushrooms, de-stemmed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional
Quinoa
1 cup tri-colored quinoa
2 cups of water
Salad and Dressing
1 romaine lettuce, chopped
3 vined tomatos, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1 tablespoon of goat cheese
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 teaspoon of tajin
salt and pepper to taste

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides while the olive oil heats up in a saucepan. You can bring the heat a few notches lower before adding the chicken, letting it saute through for about 5-7 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness. Set the chicken aside and use the same pan to saute the mushrooms for about seven minutes before adding the garlic. You may add another tablespoon of olive oil and lightly season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the chicken and let it cook for another 5-7 minutes, making sure to taste should you need to add any more salt or pepper.

In a small saucepan or pot, warm the quinoa for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil like you would rice or lentils before lowering the heat. Lid the pot and let it cook for about ten minutes.

In a big bowl, start making your dressing. Add the goat cheese, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and tajin and mix with a fork. The goat cheese should break down to the texture of your choosing. Dressing is good for up to a week in the fridge. Chop the lettuce and add it to the mix, that way the lettuce is coated with the dressing. Mix again after adding the diced tomatos and cucumbers.

The whole process shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes. If there are any leftovers, package the chicken and mushrooms, quinoa, and salad separately in airtight tupperware. Should last you at least four days in the fridge. But let’s be honest, this is so good, it won’t last that long!

Belhana welshefa! Buon appetito! Enjoy!

Happy National Chocolate Day